The physical and mental benefits of exercise are well established. Studies show that exercise contributes not only to improved physical conditioning but also better sleep, stabilized mood, improved stress resilience, reduced fatigue, improved cognition and elevated self-esteem. 1, 2, 3, 4
If you have an exercise program already, keep up the good work. If not, here are some suggestions:
Do something you enjoy with the goal of 30 minutes 5 times a week. This can be broken up into 5 minute sections 6 x per day, or try 10 minutes of walking after each meal that you eat.
Set small daily goals – consistency is important in developing habits.
Try listening to audiobooks, podcasts, or music while exercising. Recruit an “exercise buddy.” It's often easier to stick to your exercise routine when you have to stay committed to a friend, partner, or colleague. If you have face time, plan to go for a walk with your friend or garden, weeding is timely now, before we plant, with a friend. Facetime while you are outside.
Be patient with yourself! Developing new habits and breaking old habits can take some time. It is said it takes 30 days to make a new habit.
During this time of social distancing, you may find that some of your exercise routines may have been disrupted. Here are a few resources for continued physical health during this time:
If you are in need of physical therapy, Whole Body Health Physical Therapy is doing televisits. These are free visits for the time being, as their clinic is closed to actual visits. Schedule online: https://www.wholebodyhealth-pt.com
There are a number of classes being offered on YouTube! Here are a few:
Stacey from Villa sport offering her Barre/athletic conditioning classes (she has her own you tube channel Stacey Hurford):
Wednesdays at noon to 1:00 is one of my favorite instructors from here in Portland, Lauren Eisenberg Wallace. She offers a free vin yin yoga (combination of gentle flow and yin yoga), which is an all levels yoga class. Her studio is Radiant Yoga online:
There are also free workout apps available on Apple devices and Android:
7 minute work out
Mikkelson K, Stojanovska L, Polenakovic M, Boseviski M, Apostolopoulos V. Exercise and Mental Health. Mutuiritas. 2017 Dec; 106:48-56.
Childs E, de Wit H. Regular exercise is associated with emotional resilience to acute stress in healthy adults. Front Physiol. 2014;5:161. Published online 2014 May 1. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2014.00161.
Hegberg NJ, Tone E. Physical activity and stress resilience: Considering those at-risk for developing mental health problems. Psychology. 2015;8:1.